Salem: Considered an AIADMK fortress for decades, the ruling party lost its western strongholds of Salem, Erode and Namakkal Lok Sabha constituencies on Thursday. This despite the fact that star campaigners for the AIADMK led by its Chief Minister and senior ministers had intensely focused in this belt.
The DMK won all the above three seats in this belt, even as AIADMK party men suffered a big shock having to taste defeat in the Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami's home turf of Salem.
A relative newcomer to the DMK, S. R. Parthiban, and former DMDK MLA, was way ahead of his nearest AIADMK rival, K R S Saravanan, leading by a margin of over 1.37 lakh votes at the end of 19 rounds of counting at the time of filing this report. Another six rounds are to be counted and results will be officially declared later tonight.
In nearby Namakkal, the Kongu outfit, KMDK candidate A K P Chinnaraj, part of the DMK-led alliance defeated his AIADMK rival, P Kaliappan by a big margin of 2,65,151 votes. Chinnaraj polled 6,26,293 votes, while Kaliappan polled 3,61,142 votes. Chinnaraj had contested on the DMK's 'rising sun' symbol. The AIADMK also lost another key seat in this region, Erode, where the MDMK veteran, A Ganeshamurthy, part of the DMK-led alliance and contesting on the DMK's symbol, wrested the seat by defeating his nearest AIADMK rival G Manimaran by a comfortable margin of over 2.10 lakh votes. While Ganesamurthy polled 5,63, 591 votes, Manimaran got 3,52,973 votes. The DMK and its allies celebrated the alliance impressive wins by distributing sweets to the people....